Posted: Jun 01, 2014
The Fourth Law of Stratospheric Success

My entire life I've been the new kid on the block.  You know, the kid who gets introduced in November or March to a classroom of students - who all grew up together. The teacher doesn't know if I'm a cut-up or a respectful student.  I get picked last for every game and team.  A target for the class bully.  Living as a Navy brat could be painful, but to me it was great adventure. I was a serious student and was soon enough picking teams. I wasn't a tough guy but learned to stand my ground (Early).  Then and thereafter, people knew they'd get all that they needed, everything and all I had.

The Fourth Law


The Law of Authenticity - The most valuable gift you have to offer is yourself.

In the movie Chef, staring John Favreau and Sofia Vergara, the character played by Scarlett Johansson offers the Chef, played by Favreau, some time honored advice: 


You're never going to be happy trying to be someone you are not.  No matter how hard you try to be the person someone else wants you to be, if you're not happy, you're not happy.  Even if you have to go back to zero, that's better - and actually a pretty good place to start.


Besides, everyone around you knows you are miserable so get on with it already.


In a Gallup Poll of Honesty and Ethics at the end of December 2013 there is a chart of professions.  (Realtors are not on the chart but if you go to page 5 you'll find them). Over the past 10 polls, since October 1995, Realtors have averaged a Rating of 17% of people who believe Realtors have High Honesty and Trustworthiness.


That places Realtors below Lawyers and TV Reporters (20%) and above Advertising Practioners and State Officeholders (14%).


My first profession, Military Officer, is tied with Medical Doctors at 69%. Nurses, pharmacists and grade school teachers are on top.


And you know what.  From my twelve+ years of being a Realtor, it's true. Realtors will be whoever they need to be to get a deal. And if that requires defending sexual harassement, using alcohol and drugs, giving kickbacks, exaggeratig a skill or bending the truth by omission, that's ok.  As long as the customer signs a contract that leads to a commission.  Why do Realtors do this?

The best leaders have often been the best followers.

In my 19th year of Navy service two Big things happened. First, was a new boss. He had never been a boss before, not even of something small. He had been a team member before, but not a contributor. He viewed goals as an individual item, where everyone had their own goal. Not like a team where everyone works towards a common goal. His goal was to take care of himself which he did well and with pleasant justification. His insecurity did not allow him to know or care about the common office goal he was suppose to now direct.


I knew the office goal and had worked hard to lay a sound foundation of positive, multi-faceted standards to obtain and maintain a steady flow of objectives that steered towards the office goal.  My team orientation was a threat to him so he looked for a way to get rid of me.


Second, I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. Bingo! Despite medical evidence from multiple sources to the contrary, this was the opening my boss wanted. He pushed and pulled behind my back and I was transferred out of the office. The following year the Navy retired me at 20 years.


It was a big kick in the teeth. 

Mangrove Mama's

I picked up a Masters in International Economics and Politics, did some aviation consulting and eventually returned to Key West where I fell into real estate.  Loyalty and "what do I do next" kept me stuck at a brokerage way too long. Eventually, I could no longer tolerate the low standards of conduct and left.


On the drive home I stopped at a quientessential Florida Keys hangout for breakfast. Mangrove Mama's. While waiting for pancakes I received a call from a CIPS-designated Realtor friend in Tampa. A client of hers had a pair of investment condos in Key West. Could I sell them? You bet! I called the owner, shifted my license, listed them and both had full price contracts in 6 days.


Two weeks later a fine Key West friend and Realtor to whom I had answered many a question and had happily given much free market info, called to ask me to list her home. Less than three weeks later she accepted a 90% offer.


Ten days later I called a neighbor of 25 years past, now living out of town, to tell them the water heater to their now-rented former home had burst.  Yes, I was still in real estate.  Yes, I'd be honored to sell their family home of 55 years. Twelve days later they accepted a 94% offer.


A week later a local guesthouse I have befriended and to whom I give my Quarterly Postcards sends me two guys looking to buy a second home. They put a 96% offer in on the third house I show them. Accepted.


Karma? Sure. But also, returns on the standards of authentic friendship and trust.

On target


But there are still some stinkers.


Recently a business woman I've known for 20 years told me she had been offered a 25% kickback by another realtor to sell her house.  She was very angry as to why I, her friend, had not made the same offer. She knew the kickback was unethical but was tempted by this other unethical realtor. I was disgusted that a friend had fallen victim to unethical behavior and told my friend I would not make such an offer. Kickbacks are a sign of weakness.  What other offenses, I asked, would she have to deal with if she chose to list her home with such a Realtor? But for her, it was all about the money.  She was so poisoned that I had to leave her house in the middle of dinner. 


Twenty years of friendship lost over 25%.  Guess we weren't really friends. Her interests displaced mine - destroying the Third Law of Stratospheric Success.  And yet, if you can't stand up for yourself, how can you possibly stand up for someone else.


69% or 17%. You make the call. Remember, there's no Mulligan on doing the right thing.


Previously:  The 3rd Law - The Law of Influence

Next Up:  The 5th Law - The Law of Receptivity


If you have any comments or questions, please contact me here.


Good luck!